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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 29, 2015 3:30am-5:31am EDT

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commendation for the immediate focus is about infrastructure, and the grid is a big part of that, is that right? >> oh, yes, absolutely. one of our four kind of major core areas. >> right. so part of my question is we've in previous legislation did a lot of focus for states to help us in discussing where to go on grid modernization and try to get various schematics in place and microgrid systems and figuring out how to get those microgrids connect to the larger grid. and then, obviously, frequent -- the issue of cybersecurity becoming a larger issue, and that's mentioned in the report as well. and obviously d.o.e. plays a major role in this. what are the schematics that you think that we should be looking at, you know, on the grid? what kind of r&d should we be doing? maybe you want to talk a little bit -- i almost wanted to ask you before about why transform
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transformers are so important. maybe explain that a little bit. but clearly there are approaches we could take as a federal entity to push further on where the grid needs to go. and you have done a good job in the report of combining the elements of different types of energy sources. obviously, i don't think it's called out so specifically in the report, but to me the biggest advent here is just the notion of distributed generation. the same kind of distributed generation that the internet brought us is bringing us distributed generation opportunities for energy which means, then, you know, again, it becomes a platform play. but what do you think are the schematics that we need to do? so how would you approach this next phase of working on grid modernization? >> well, on the r&d side that you mentioned, i mean you know, in broad strokes, i think the much more aggressive
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introduction and utilization of i.t. with the grid is absolutely critical. just, again, as an anecdote last week when we were going to release the qer, we were in the control room and we saw where the data are coming in from these syncro phaser measurements which is a wonderful new technology. but the fact is ift had not been integrated yet. so we have a long way to go to fully benefit i.t. and that's both for the transmission system high-voltage system and distribution system. secondly, of course, the more we introduce i.t., the more we have to address the cyber vulnerabilities. that goes hand in hand. so that's a second major area. a third major krar --area -- >> well, isn't it more with so
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many transactions and e-commerce and everything living along the line, if we don't harden the electricity grid or make it redundant in various ways that we're going to be susceptible, is that right? >> yeah. so we need the cyber protection of the grid so that it, in turn is available to support all the other commerce -- electronic commerce that we have. a third area, you touched upon it, is actually i would say is integrating the ideas of distributed generation and microgrids. again, as one example, of a project that helped shape some of our thinking in terms of the resiliency recommendations, we cost shares with the state of new jersey, a design of a so-called microgrid except it's not so micro. like 50 to even more megawatts of distributed generation.
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in a microgrid to protect to make resilient a critical transportation corridor, we put in relatively small funds to do the design work, and then they were successful in getting essentially a post-sandy d.o.e. grant, hundreds of millions of dollars, to implement it. so the both the architecture gd and microgrids is important. but also this idea of leveraging our funds to then have big infrastructure projects done is a good model that we use here. so those are important. on transformers, the idea is that these really large transformers typically to step down from very high voltage to a lower voltage tend to be probably more than they need to be. they tend to be rather unique. and very -- if you have a problem -- very hard to replace. they cost millions of dollars each.
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it may say six months to replace it. and you've got a big problem. so that's why we're thinking of working with utilities to see if we can't have a private/public partnership to have a more uniform way of having backups for key transformers. >> well i think efficiency screams out in your report that say things for all of us. and i hope that we'll take your recommendations and go one step further. what is it that grid investment will get us juxtaposed to ignoring it and having cyber threats or ignoring it and thinking about the climate impacts that we saw devastate substations and everything else. we clearly are spending billions of dollars in aftermath repairs. and we can be smarter about that. >> and there's a nice graph in there also that shows that over the last decade of dramatically
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increasing in terms of outages is the impact of extreme weather. >> yeah. >> it has just grown enormously. >> thank you. >> yeah. >> senator. >> thank you madam chairman. i actually want to pick up on a question that you just posed. mr. secretary, thanks for coming to north dakota's part of the qer process. appreciate it very much. the qer recognizes the growth and importance of energy development in places like my state of north dakota and elsewhere as well as the need to update and expand our energy incentral structure as building a plan for this country, but it also discusses the importance of partnering with our friends and allies, canada and mexico. how do you expect that we're going to build a relationship -- a better relationship on energy, with canada if we don't approve the keystone xl pipeline? >> well again, the qvr nor i were going to come in on any specific project but we do note
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that, first of all, pipelines we already have more than 70 pipelines across the border. and -- >> is that making an argument for or against it? >> it was a completely neutral statement of data. i'm a very data-driven person. and i believe 74 is the exact number, in fact. and also i'll just add in terms of working with canada that we have right now more than four gig ga gigawatts of applications for high-voltage transmission lines to bring hydro down. one of those champlain hudson which just got its final permits. my point is we have a big energy relationship with canada. we want to grow it more. that's independent of any specific project. >> along those lines i'm working on a bipartisan legislation. it's the north american energy infrastructure act. and it's designed to do what you just said, help build energy
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infrastructure so that we can work with canada and mexico. north america has an incredible opportunity here. all forms of energy. so we're talking not just pipelines but also transmission lines, rail and road all in the right mix, efficiently and cost effectively and safely. >> i would just add to your list waterways as well. >> waterways, too. is that something you'd be willing to help work on? >> absolutely, i'd be happy to -- to chat, as we always do. >> thank you. i mean again it's not just transmission and pipeline but we've got railroads out there that are working to build more rail. we need capacity in all these areas and not only just for energy. and that's one of the things that qer talks about are those constraints. so how can you help us advance this legislation? how can you help us knock down some of these regulatory barriers so we can build this
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infra infra infrastructure. we've got to get them through the military restrains. >> again, i would be happy to work with you, senator hogan but part already also in the way, maybe helping out as a gateway to other agencies as well. because clearly responsibilities for the issues that you're addressing are spread across multiple agencies. the department of energy has relatively little -- you know, we do the presidential determination for electricity lines, but obviously not for other kinds of transporters. >> and it would be great if maybe you would link efforts so we could streamline the process. maybe that's a good role for d.o.e. do that's certainly we could certainly discuss. absolutely. in the same sense that we were the executive secretary for this qe qer. >> i'd like to switch to another item that i'm thinking i didn't get to watch all the testimony, but i think perhaps the chairman brought up oil export.
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this is an important issue. in many respects. not only in terms of our economic growth and building our energy industry here at home but also in helping provide more supply, reduce the price at the pump. give me your position on oil export and how we should approach lifting the oil export ban. >> my position is that that's a responsibility of the department of commerce, but i'll make a few observations. which i did last week in houston at the conference. and this is not dispositive in any way about whether we should or should not or how we should deal with exports. it's a bigger discussion. but i do think in that discussion, it's very important to have it in the context of, you know the ground truth today that we still import 7 million
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barrels of oil per day. that's not again, say yes or no on the question that you posed, but we should remember in contrast to lng where we are and soon will be more than self-sufficient, we remain large importers of crude and still significant supporters of net petroleum products. that's a reality. the issue in the end becomes the one that you did point out. would -- would a lifting of exports result in a significant increase increase. i think that's a question that's not often enough focused on in terms of analysis and certainly it's probably the case. but today with what's happening with oil prices, et cetera, it
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might be a hard case to make that one would see a huge response in terms of production. but that's the question to address. >> what i would ask, mr. secretary, was that just as you worked with us on the lng exportive legislation that we have a real opportunity to pass and your effort has been significant and important in that effort. i would ask for that same help and willingness to work together on the oil export ban. >> i'd be happy to do that. again, with the pro vice maybe help make improvements to other parts of the administration. >> thank you. >> thank you, secretary moniz and know that last week we had very interesting discussion here with mr. saminsky, talking about the impact of iran's sanctions
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and that by not removing the oil export ban we keep in place or we look forward to continuing that conversation. >> i might add that you probably discussed, that eia has done a whole series of reports that will culminate in june of relevancy to the export discussion. >> we're looking forward to those as well. let's go to senator franken. >> thank you, madam chair. i would just put a word in for caution on the level of export of lng. minnesota produces no lng, and we like to keep the costs down. so for generation of electricity, for manufacturing, for heating. so there are, i believe, the
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energy information agency has said that it would lead to cost rises in the united states if we do export and especially if cost rises in the united states if we do export and especially extort a significant -- export a significant amount. mr. secretary, i'd like to talk about renewable energy production op indian lands. our tribes in minnesota and elsewhere have tremendous renewable resources. i mean if you've ever gone to arizona you know that there's tremendous solar there. with distributed energy as a goal and micro grids as a goal i would like to see the energy
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team up with indian energy to pilot programs there for microgrids and for distributed energy. because it would create jobs in the indian country and also be a wonderful place for us to pilot programs, you know, cutting edge technology and to see where that leads. so i would just recommend to you, thinking about indian -- you know when senator king talked about storage as the word they use in the graduate now for plastics, it wouldn't be because the whole point of that line was to make fun of that guy. storage is really cool. and really cutting edge.
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so as a former satirist, i can tell you that today no, storage would not be used instead of plastics. so i take tremendous issue with the senator from maine. >> where have you gone senator dimaggio. >> that's a reference to the sound track of "the graduate" and for those of us of certain age. i also want to ask a little bit about -- so would you look into that, is what i'm saying? >> i would love to collaborate on that. and also by the indian country and alaskan native villages et cetera, i'm going to ask for some help, in fact. you know we have a program for indian energy and i think it's very effective in terms of what it does with a very limited budget. in fact, it's authorized only with a cap on its budget. however, we do have a proposal
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in the budget they would like to bring to your attention, actually you and the chair, which is we requested -- to be honest, it was not funded in the house mark -- $11 million for a loan guarantee program for indian energy, alaska native villages. and the idea there is while it's $11 million of credit subsidy, it probably could leverage like $100 million of actual projects, which is way above the budget that we have for indian energy. so i would be happy to come and discuss that in more detail and work through, i think what we could do there. and the idea would be sub mega watt projects. >> as the chair and i know the funding levels for indian and native peoples is incredibly low.
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and i really believe combining power that the chairwoman and i agree, you know, are enthusiastic about that also. so that's biomass very often. and so those kind of distributed energy -- i also just, since i'm running out of time, just want to touch on methane and the importance of capturing it. and so because of the greenhouse effect of methane is so much greater than that of co2, that we need to really look -- capture that. >> right. and in our work, including in the qer, we have two focus areas for due. there's other focus areas in terms of the production but we look at the tnd infrastructure and on the national gas
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distribution side we have just a tremendous amount of old, you know cast iron pipe and bare steel. it's both a safety and a climate challenge. we propose a program to fundamentally to support low income house holds as access rated replacement programs are absorbed into rates. so that's an example of what we want to do there for both safety and environmental reasons. in addition, we're working on compressors which are the biggest loss point on the natural gas transmission system. >> thank you. thank you, madam chair. >> we look forward to working with you on the indian energy issues. senator kas ki. >> i'm about to ask a bunch of questions i don't know to answer to. >> we don't either. >> i hope you do.
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but if you say you don't i'll accept that. what has been in the news lately is the uranium 1 sale to russia. it may not be uranium 1, but the canadian company that gave contribution to the clinton foundation. they had uranium mining rights across the world including the western united states and subsequently sold to a russian concern. and there's a certain scandal involved. i'm not here to discuss the scandal. what i am interested in -- and i think it's arm z that currently has these holdings. what percent of activity mind u.s. uranium resources are controlled by the russian concern? do you know that? >> i do not. i wasn't aware of any, to be honest. but i don't know the answer. i'll look into that. i don't know the issue. i'm sorry. yeah. >> okay. okay. then if you don't know the issue
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it may not work for any of these, because the second question would be i understand again, that the russians now claim to control a significant portion of world uranium deposits in which case can they choose to increase price by limiting supply. again i ask this for no other reason than i think there's national security issues at stake. >> again, i'll have to look at this. i'm happy to get back to you. however, it's a litting surprising in the sense that i believe the largest reserves are in kazakhstan and the second largest are australian. >> they own those too. they combined with the south african firm and purchased australian and ka zack firms. this is in a "the new york times" article. >> u didn't see it.
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>> but they now own reserves in the western united states which i gather are being exported to canada the mined material even though it's not allowed for uranium 1 but the trucking company is allowed to export. so it seemed like a loophole. i'll ask these for the record since you don't know the answers. it seems of incredible importance to our national security and to your energy security. that's why i ask. >> i'll look into it sir. >> thank you. >> thank you senator cassidy. we're just about to the noon hour. i've just got a couple of question questions for you and one follows on your discussion with senator franken about what the office of indian energy is doing. and i think we have seen some good things. i'll look forward to discussing this loan guarantee with you a little bit more. i think we recognize that in
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places like alaska and in going back to the discussion about how we partner with canada and some of our infrastructure issues we know that heat is the biggest energy challenge in the north not necessarily electricity. so recognizing that the qar is looking to partner with canada on energy delivery to remote areas, this is something i want to work with you on. i want to try to explore some of the different delivery systems that you're talking about there, whether it's space heating efficient design housing technologies. i was up in the territory with secretary of state on friday. you realize how isolated these communities are, even communities of significant size and significant resource. but the challenges they face
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they also are exclusively powered by diesel. >> and expensive. >> extraordinarily expensive. so how we deal with this. and we've got so much to learn from one another. and this is where i think we have certain advantages coming at us as we take over the chair of the arctic counsel, how we can be partnering with our northern neighbors and understanding the best technologies that are out there. but i would encourage us to look at what we have, developing in alaska, whether it's the cold climate housing research center, the innovative technologies that have been coming itout of there in regards to sustainable design. we really do have some remarkable models. and so this is something that i encourage us to really -- we'll partner with you on, but we have some key opportunities. the final issue that i want to
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bring up relating to alaska is the recommendations -- there's two of them. one is the remote community renewable energy partnership. and the other is this coordination with canada. and again i'm pleased with the direction that we're looking there but want to know that we're working together in this. but with regards to the remote community renewable energy partnership, the qer states that the state department with its partnership will construct a high penetration wind diesel hybrid system in a rural arctic community. now it suggests that it's one project that they're looking to help build out. but when you take into account what we've done in the state of alaska since 2008, we've invested more than $247 million to 275 renewable energy projects
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across the state through our state's renewable energy grant fund. we funded $5.5 million to 20 emerging energy technology projects, spent more than $600 million on making homes for energy efficient. it's been a total of $850 million that the state has invested with its expertise and just all that it's doing. so i'm hoping that when we're reading what's coming it of the qer it is -- it's not just limited to a single project that you're looking at with the remote community renewable energy partnership, but again looking to how we can building off what the state has already done, is continuing to do, but really develop a stronger partnership there. >> yeah. and again i would welcome that. and i think as you know we do
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have -- i think in anchorage is where they're located a person from enrail and a person from natl there. and they might be good conduits for looking at how the state programs and what we do could be synced up. >> we'll work together. >> we do have those people based in alaska. >> yeah. and my last question then for you is regarding spent nuclear fuel. very little in the qer about nuclear energy and really nothing about the back end of the fuel cycle. we have been working on this and i truly appreciate how you have intersected with not only senator cantwell and myself but senators alexander and feinstein on this issue. but why didn't, why didn't we address this in the qer? >> well again the qer was on
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infrastructure and moving energy around as opposed to the concern nuclear power. i think you're correct. we could have put together in there in terms of transportation of spent fuel for example. we do have in our budget request for fy 16 $6.9 million, i think, to specifically address the transportation questions of spent fuel, including the kinds of rail casts you would need, et cetera. so that's in there. but otherwise yeah, we did not address that in the qer. but again, i'm happy to keep talking about that including the storage options and the transportation option, developing consent based processes and looking at the defense waste path ways that we can now, that we can now pursue. it's a full agenda.
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>> it is. >> and i look forward to working on that. >> it is a full agenda and we're going to be having a hearing on it on our neck waste legislation in the next month and a half or so. we look forward to your comments on that. >> great. >> obviously a great deal that you have presented through this qer. we appreciate that. but again, i think it's going to be incumbent on us, you and your team and d.o.e. and those of us here at the committee and on the house side as well to really figure out how do we move forward with this how do we keep up the level of engagement how do we make sure this is more than just talk. because the need is to clearly there that we are limiting ourselves, we are limiting our economic opportunities, we are limiting our potential as a nation when we don't focus on a
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longer term view of our energy infrastructure. if we can't move it around to where the people are, if we can't do it safely and in an environmentally responsible way and a cost effective way, the rest of the system just doesn't work. so work with us to make sure that we've got a real action plan moving forward and i look forward to that. >> we are very eager. and in fact we have also -- it's not in the plan but we can share this, come back and talk about what our recommendations in the plan -- you know which ones could we pursue with you know, current authorities in the administration and which ones -- and that's relatively few, versus all of those that we'll need action in this body. and so i have no interest in having a wonderful monument on a library shelf as opposed to an implementation plan. and we will be turning now both
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to implementation issues of qer 1 and starting to think about the second round of qer. there was clearly only one sies of the overall picture. if i can repeat something i said earlier on within following on what you said, that the decisions that we take i think will be important for shaping the energy system for decades. but the decisions we don't take will be equally important. doing nothing is not neutral in this business. >> i agree. and it ought not be an option either. we look forward to working with you. senator cantwell? >> i know we're closing out as we get to the noon hour. i just again want to thank the secretary for the report and heading that up in coordination with other agencies. i certainly appreciate the climate goals that are in the report as well. more specifically want to work with you on -- i think it was something like 1 million people
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currently work in energy transmission but we think there will be an additional 1.5 million by 2030. that's the need. i have no doubt that we need to skill up a lot of the american workforce if we're going to meet that demand and that goal. it's, as you said, i.t., meeting the grid and it's an exciting opportunity. but i think at the base level there's a lot of work to do, whether that's through d.o.e. or inner agency work or apprentice programs or many other things. but i think skilling the workforce that we need for the things that we say we want to do is going to be a critical aspect of meeting the needs of the future. >> we have formed not so long ago a jobs strategy council at d.o.e. under the leadership of dave foster. be delighted to have him come up and meet with you and your staff
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and or with others. i think making some real progress in a number of issues including the veteran hiring into the arena. they're involved in all kinds of issues in terms of driving a jobs agenda for energy. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. with that we stand adjourned. >> thank you. thank you. coming up here on c-span3 at 10:00 a.m. eastern, live coverage of a hearing before the house oversight committee on how a small guy ro kopter entered restricted air space and landed on the west lawn of the capitol a couple of weeks ago. and later on c-span, a joint conference to hear from the
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prime minister of japan, shinzo abe. we'll have that line at 11:00. house transportation committee chair bill shuster while speaking at the national journal today took questions about his his relationship with an aviation lobbyist would affect his ability to head the committee. he says he's gone above and beyond what the rules require but the law requires to make sure we're doing things appropriately. the pennsylvania congressman was at the journal to talk about what he hopes can happen with the highway bill. this is about 50 minutes. good morning. welcome. i'm poppy macdonald and i want to thank you for joining us this
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morning. thank you for joining us. so we can have your full attention, ask you to please silence your cell phones we would real lie appreciate it. we encourage your comments your questions and your feedback this morning via twitter facebook or instagram using #njconversation. for those of you wishing to ask questions, please submit your questions to the moderator via twitter using #askvj. in addition to featuring chairs of the congressional committees like this morning, these conversations will feature senate leadership, cabinet secretaries and other high level government officials and presidential candidates. we're so pleased that the honorable bill shuster has joined us this morning. as you probably all know, representative shuster is the chairman of the house transportation and
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infrastructure committee. this is his second term as chairman of one of the largest committees in congress. since coming to congress in 2001, he has been a member of the transportation committee and has played an important role in transportation policy. ladies and gentlemen, chairman bill shuster. [ applause ] >> thank you very much poppy. thanks for having me back. i was just talking to fawn backstage. the last time we were here we both kind of shrugged our shoulders. it was three years ago. it's been a while. time flies when you're having fun. i look out and see a lot of the usual suspects that show up when i'm talking about transportation issues. ail have to warn you ald i told fawn, she said what are you going to say in your opening remarks. it's probably a lot of what you've heard me talking about in the past couple of years. here it goes. i really appreciate the opportunity to talk to the
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media, the folks like you that care deeply about transportation because i think we all know that it's a quality of life issue. it's about creating jobs it's about creating convenience. it's about getting us to and from, getting the products to and from to make sure we have them on our shelves and wet get to your families, to the playground, wherever we're going in the country. i look out at every crowd and i say, we're all in the transportation business. everybody today was touched by the transportation business. everybody in the room obviously, but even back home when mom and dad are getting the carton or milk out this morning, that got to the house through the transportation system. it's critical that we pay attention to it. i believe that there's a federal responsibility as i've said to this room and many others over the years. article 1 section 8 is pretty cloer for me that there's a role for the federal government not to do it all but to be a partner
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with the states and the local government to make sure that we're connecting this country. what we've tried to do over the last couple of years in the committee is work on a bipartisan basis. that's always my goal to start out sitting down with my colleagues across the aisle and try to develop a common ground where we can move forward. u think historically that's been the committee's history, sitting down, working things out. we continue to do that every day. peter defaz yo is a good partner, somebody that is very smart and he's been around this town for more than two decades. we knows where all of the bodies are buried when it comes to transportation. me knows what was tried before. it's good to have somebody like that you can work with. peter is passionate. as you might have saw the article that fawn wrote i said he rants on the house floor. i probably shouldn't have said rant but peter is very passionate. when you sit down with him, you can work with him. the priorities for the committee are first of all surface transportation bill which we're
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working through. it looks as though we're going to have to do a short term patch to get to a longer term bill and we're working closely with the leadership and with paul ryan to figure out how to do that short term patch and then move on to a longer term bill. i feel fairly confident, though that we're going to get a long term bill because both sides of the aisle, both sides of the capitol and both sides of pennsylvania avenue want a long term bill. as i travel this country and as members travel back to their districts and their states, that's what they hear. we must have a long term bill. that's the goal. again we need to continue that federal partnership. i spent a week in -- not a week but a couple of days in any district with four or five secretaries of transportation from around the country to raise the awareness and talk about the need for the readfederal partnership. i've yet to have one single governor ask me to send it all back to the states. they know it's a responsibility
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that needs to have something at the federal level again to make sure we're connected. as i said, as we move through the bill we want to empower the states and local governments to be able to move faster. map 21 did a lot of that. we're waiting to see how that rolls out. some has. public/private partnerships we need to focus on. having an intelligent hit until the bill. talking about the cars the transportation of the future. not that we deal with regulating those cars, that comes in under other committees' jurisdiction but how do we build roads that we're going to build in the next five to ten years that have cars and trucks with this technology on it, driveless vehicles. accelerating product delivery streamlining and focusing on freight movement in this country is critical. that should be the focus of where the federal money goes. we got to find a way to pay for
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it that doesn't add to the deficit and the debt. second major legislation that i'm focused on is faa legislation legislation. we're losing our lead in the world, whether it's manufacturing, airline service, component manufacturers, we have to make sure that our government is out there able to push the ball forward, help them get out f their way so they can continue that lead in the world. when you look at the airline industry we're moving towards a billion passengers in the next several years. a billion passengers flying around the country and flying around the world. i believe we're going to need to do something that's transformational. makes it so that when our manufacturers are looking for certifications on aircraft or components that it moves much faster. again we can't allow the rest of the world to be moving faster than we are. we need to modernize the air traffic control system which is a big part of what we should be
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doing. next general which we've been working on for the last ten years, we spent $6 billion and we have very little to show for it. at the same time verizon over that last 10 years as upgrated its operating system four times. while we here at the faa can't move forward on much of anything. stakeholders have lost their confidence in the faa bureaucracy and again i think we're seeing all of the groups out there saying -- we've spent the last 16, 18 months talking to everybody about the need for transformation transformation, about the need for change at faa. we're all in agreement, all the stakeholders are in agreement that there's a problem. we're trying to figure out what the solution and figuring out how we can move forward in a bipartisan way and making sure that the stakeholders are at the table helping us craft a good bill. on the committee we have a very busy agenda. we passed the passenger rail bill in march. i hope to see senate action on
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that. we passed at a committee last week a fema reform bill. we're going to have on the floor this week waters of the united states, piece of legislation to try to stop the epa from putting out a rule that i believe will be very, very bad for the economy. we introduced a coast guard bill last week. and then next year we hope to do in this congress another resources bill and of course a pipeline safety bill with authorization will need to be done in the next several months and we're working on gsa reform. a lot is on our plate but i believe if we work together we can accomplish a lot of the things that will make america a better place the transportation system will be vastly improved as well as some of these government agencies being reformed that will be positive for not only the country but the products -- not the products but the services they provide. again thank you all very much for having me here toads and i look forward to hearing your questions. [ applause ]
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>> great. thank you, mr. chairman. joining the chairman at this time is fawn johnson. she's a correspondent with national journal. fawn covers nick policy issues such as gun control, transportation and education. johnson is a long time student of washington, d.c. politics with more than a decade of experience covering congress and the administration. fawn johnson, ladies and gentlemen. >> thank you, poppy. i have an ipad right here with -- weight foraiting for your questions. we probably all have the same question so i'm going to try to ask them and then we'll get to q and a. keep sending them along. mr. chairman thank you for joining us. i realize we're boring compared to the protesters outside of the supreme court. thank you for being here any way. you touched on this briefly, the most immediate problem facing
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the congress. i counted 33 days until the highway trust fund authority expires. and you mention in your remarks that we're going to need some sort of extension. how long do you think we will need for your committee and the ways and means committee to work out a long term bill. >> just like doing the long term bill, the patch is driven by the amount of money we find. we're hoping to do several month to give the ways and means committee to then do a bill. paul ryan wants to do tax reform and that's where i believe he'll be able to come up with the dollar to do a long term bill. so again the timing, working with ways and means working with leadership. we're right now developing. no decisions have been made to exactly how long. >> what's your preference? >> i want to go several months. get us through -- i think it's important to get us through the construction season. >> okay. >> it's like texas and florida. construction season lasts basically all year. but states like pennsylvania, wisconsin have a shorter window.
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making sure we get through the construction season. >> and in the immediate future there needs to be an extension on the floor. >> right. >> you guys are out next week i believe. >> correct. >> so you need to come back and have something ready to go that can get through if senate relatively quickly. >> correct. >> what's the time frame on that? are we going to be seeing some sort of countdown to the 31st as probably many people in the room have seen many times? >> sounds like the countdown has already started. >> yes. >> not that many legislative days. >> right. >> so we are out next week. we're back for two weeks and then we allowed more memorial day, 22nd. it's going to have to be the second, third week. again, we're working with the senate talking with senator inhofe and senator boxer. senator inhofe i'm not sure what he said but e he would like a shorter term. >> he told me that he wanted it to be before the end of the fiscal year.
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that sound like it's not enough time i would think for you to come up with a robust tax package. >> that doesn't get it through the entire construction season. pennsylvania still needs to go another month or so before they start to slow down. >> and so let's also talk a little bit about -- i already have one question from our listeners here about how long is long term when it comes to a bill? we've got to deal with the extension, but then what do we do next in. >> i believe five to six years is a long term bill. that's my goal and what we're working towards. like i said, besides the aisle of both house and senate were they're both talking about a long term bill. >> would bit the same level of funding? more? less? what are you looking at? >> i'm nudging paul ryan as best i can to do more but it's going to be at least the same levels. and what i learned, giving people the choice more money and a shorter term bill and less
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money and a longer bill. everybody wants that certainty. >> let's talk a little bit -- we talked a little bit about this when we had a private interview about the tax debate that's come around us. >> sure. >> we know that we can't do something as big and ambitious as the kind of thing that dave camp has proposed. but in order to actually make a -- move forward in terms of tax reform that doesn't actually hamper any other changes in the future, there needs to be something more than just a small tweak on overseas taxes as you and i talked about. how do you see this playing out? you must be working closely with paul ryan to figure this out. whatever number he comes up with is going to determine how long you can do a -- >> correct. >> -- a bill. so what are you looking at?
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what do you expect to have happen in terms of the tax conversation? >> well, and i believe you know, i read the papers. everybody is talking about some sort of tax reform, president, senate, house. so i think obviously it ooh not going to be the large big reform that dave camp was working on. but there's the opportunity out there to do some smaller things on tax reform. and that's where it will come in that -- again it's up to paul to figure out exactly where the dollars are and to do a five or six-year bill. we need between 70 and $90 billion to make that happen. in our conversations he's working hard hard on trying to figure that out. >> one of the things i've observed after having covered this for a while is the kinds of policy conversations, most everybody agrees on the need for some sort of robust surface transportation bill and the policy around that. so really the question is how >> right. >> but are there any outstanding policy issues that you guys are working on or that you expect to
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include in a bill once you get the funding structure put together? >> yes. focusing on freight the freight corridors in the country which also carry passengers. but having a focus -- taking the focus back because this's really what the system was set up to do. and making -- giving the states more ability to move quicker move faster and look at what we did in map 21 and see how the department is implementing those reforms. >> right. >> some of them we think are going in the right way, some of them we have concerns about and we'll have to tweak those. >> do you have in examples? >> there's a couple out there. one is making sure that the reports are done not consecutively, but at the same time. they're all coming together concurrently. that's starting to happen. but we want to make sure it moves forward. one of the things we put in there, the review process. two states california and texas are taking over the reform
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process. when i say they're taking it over they're going to have to do the same as what the federal government does but the states are going to do it. the texas director of transportation was traveling with me in pennsylvania and they've only had it for a couple of months but he feels confident they're going to be able to speed that process us which is going to make a big difference in building roads in texas. >> and you also talked in your remarks about a technology title. >> yes. >> that's brand new. you want to give us a little detail on that? >> sure. i had the opportunity to ride in a driverless vehicle. when you see the technology -- >> it was documented on the web cam, if i remember correctly. >> i've rid nn three of them. one in pennsylvania they brought the same car down to washington which was a little more intense. >> they can't be worse than the drivers here. >> well the car was pretty cautious so the driver had to get aggressive to get the car in traffic. but still -- >> we need type a drivers of
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those cars. >> when they start talking to each other i think we're going to bring courtesy back to the driving public. >> i don't know. it's terrifying to think about. anyway i'm sorry. i'm derailing the conversation. the kek nolg title. >> these cars are coming. they tell me probably in seven years you'll be able to buy in the showroom a high end car. it will cost you $15,000 extra to get a car that will drive itself. and in 20 years the 75% of the sfleet fleet will be able to talk to each other. is there anything different we have to do? kwlont i don't have the answer. pennsylvania has contracted with carnegie melon to do a three-year study on how do we build roads to take these cars to be able to interact with these cars. is it different materials? does the paint need to be different
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so the sensors pick up on it? i don't know the answer. but that's what we need to study to understand. when we build a road in the next five to ten years, it's going to have a driverless vehicle on it in our lifetime. >> are there other stakeholders that need to be consulted in that process? are there sooints parts of the government that are not in the transportation department that should be weighing in on some of the rules and regulations that are coming out? >> absolutely. the electronics cityindustry, we've talked to people in the silicon valley. they're involved and engaged in what is going to happen. they're going to have to deal -- when the cars and technologies are built they will be energy and commerce committee that deal with the actual regs on those things. but getting on the highway and how we build these roads they're very interested in. >> it's the forward thinking part of the bill. >> exactly. >> there's one question from our audience on surface that i don't want to forget and then we'll
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move on. the question is do we know what the offsets are for the short term stopgap that we have? >> no. >> i had been in the sense that we're looking al $8 billion to $10 billion if you wanted to do something by the end of the calendar year. >> it's about $10 billion. we don't know the actual offset. >> i feel like we've run out of the gimmicks. >> it's tough. >> to be announced later. let's move on to faa. >> sure. >> because i'm putting this in order of the things that are coming up that you have to deal with. faa expires at the end of fiscal year. you've talked a little bit about your faa plan. can you give a little more detail? >> you and i talked about this. what you would like to have the faa transformed into. >> i can't give you the detail because we haven't gotten to the detail part. what we've spent the last 18
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months now, if my math is right, starting this conversation with the stakeholders. and i think we've had every stakeholder group in a round table, in a listening session to try to figure out, you know, what they think the problems are. as i said in any talk earlier, everybody agrees there's a problem. now we have to figure out the solution. that's why we spent time looking at what do other people around the world do. and there are all of the industrialized countries, as well as there are 50 tote whole have taken the air traffic controller organization out of government -- >> completely. >> well -- >> or almost. >> if you're going to qualify that. you have germany that's taken it out and formed a wholly-owned corporation wholly owned by the german federal government. you have the german with a pure for profit air traffic control system that acts like a utility would act.
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the canadians have what is a nonfor profit corporation that's operates like a co-op and they all have some benefits to them. but we're the largest system in the world so we've got to figure out -- is there a model out there we can use to help us scale us. >> right. >> that's what we're going through the conversations right now with all all of the stakeholders. >> i had been under the impression that your national thought that the nonprofit model ala canada or something like that is something you're most interested in. am i getting that right? >> i think that's a fair statement. when you look at the metrics on what each do. first of all, safety is paramount. that has to be our number one priority. they're very safe. and how we go through and what scale is best for the united states. what system works best. it's going to take the stakeholders all at the table. i can assure you that if we do an faa reauthorization, not everyone will get what they want and people will be okay.
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it's going to be very tough, very difficult to do. >> i can preface this by saying i did back-to-back interviews with you and mr. defaz yo one day and then the next day talking about the specific issue as the two of you are in the middle of negotiations. you know, he is i think a little -- he's got questions about a nonprofit because i think he -- there are many number -- i can go into it but i probably will get it wrong. he's a really smart guy. but he has talked about how -- the idea of a government corporation ala fannie mae is -- >> i would never use fannie mae as the example. >> exactly. so my question is what if you don't get there? what if the two of you -- because the two of you really do need to agree if you're going to actually transform the faa. so is there going to be a winner and a loser here? not saying that you're up against one another.
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but -- >> it's going to be up -- peter and i can have our disagreements. but the stakeholders out there have to be really engaged in this. and across the board from the air traffic controllers they went through 23 extensions three years out a pay raise, sequestration and government shutdown. they always seem to get hammered. they've had it with the system and they want to do something different. you're going to have to have the manufacturers, when you talk about the certification program, we've got to fix it. we've got a manufacturer of a business jet they told me they are three years ahead of their competition to get their jet out, three years ahead. that gives them a huge competitive advantage. but the faa at every step slows it down. we've got to stop that. they're going to go to other countries and manufacture these things but they get certified faster. we've got a drone industry that's starting to -- they're going to end up in foreign countries if we don't figure out how to make sure our air space
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is safe for them and they can manufacture. and the airlines have to be at the table, the airports. everybody has got to be at the table. the way our system works nobody is going to get up from the table and go this is perfect. >> talk a little bit about how that works. i was, and probably a lot of us were at the aerolunch when the president of napca gave a speech. the place was packed. people were listening closely to what he was having to say. his concern was making sure that there's full funding because sequestration and these temporary extensions are just killing them. how do you -- you've rattled off ten different stakeholder groups that are going to have their own priorities. how does it work for you guys to be able to come up with something that's workable and that you can also pass before september? >> it's going to be very difficult. i've said that before. but -- >> that's a good answer.
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>> -- when you start out with everybody saying there's a problem -- >> right. >> i think we're going to be able to figure a path way forward which we haven't done yet. i think it's important that we're all talking together. as you mentioned all of the stakeholders there, general aviation is a key stakeholder and others. but those are very important to the process because if you look -- this is nothing new that i'm trying to do. this was tried under the clinton administration, it was tried under the bush administration. something very similar. and they got cross ways with a couple of stakeholders and it didn't move forward. in fact we had a hearing. i think i told you we had a hearing with the clinton administration former bush administration, reagan administration all these folks were giving their testimony and one of the senior democrats said i've been to this hearing before
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but it was to years ago. these are the same people saying the same thing they were 20 years ago. >> a few more wrinkles. >> we've got to a point where we're going to be able to do something. it's just, as i said, figuring out the sweet spot. >> and can you talk a little bit about how you work with stakeholders generally? i mean i have noticed and i have written that the transportation community is -- well we all know each other pretty well. so how does it work, just kind of on a practical basis. >> having the round tables are absolutely critical. and again, having meeting with the stakeholders one on one to understand what their concerns are, what their priorities are. making sure that we're not only republicans in the room talking about but having democrats in the room talking about it with them. so we all can hear you know, the coming right from the stakeholders, this is a concern or this is something we think is good. and you know i looked a how we
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did worda -- >> that's the water resources bill. well everyone in this room knows what that is. but this is a much bigger bite at the apple i think. >> absolutely. >> there's more stakeholder. when we're talking about the transportation committee, we need to talk about an issue that's been on a lot of people's mind. but you've been dating a lobbyist for the airline industry, a former shil staffer, very well thought of. but the airline industry has a huge stake in the faa bill. can you tell us what that's about and how you've been coping with that as it's been a little bit now. >> i've been very transparent. and one of the things is it's a personal and private relationship. but i think i've gone above and beyond what the rules require, what the law requires to make sure that, you know, we're doing things appropriately. and you know, that's -- i know a
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lot of people in the town that are lobbyists. i think we can do these things as professionals. >> i know a lot of people in town that are lobbyists as well. a lot of people here are lobbyists. did you ever think about rekuzing yourself from aviation and what's your reasoning beyond that in. >> no. as i said i've gone above and beyond what the rules require. i think people in this town know my integrity level. i'm going to be at the table. i got a lot of stakeholders. i guarantee you people are going to walk away from this bill going, it's pretty good. it's not perfect. >> then you know that's the best you can do in. >> that's the way the system is set up. 230 years in the country i can't imagine there's a legislature that walks out after a bill passes and says this is perfect. it just doesn't happen. we're looking for the good. >> this is something that has -- especially when we're talking
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about the surface transportation issue, aviation has its own little world. but that the people who deal in the industry work for a closely together in part because the system is heavily regulated and because there's government money on the table. so can you -- i know that you have spent some time trying to invite other people into that circle. i mean you grew up in it just because of your you know, your family. but what have you done to try and expand the circle so to speak so you can have different voices come in, so you can have other voices that didn't speak worda. >> again bringing them in and making sure that their voice is heard. and i think if you talk to the people in the water resources industry, you talk to the people in the maritime coast guard industry across the board i've
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listened to everybody. because again, tht is not going to be about one stakeholder. it's going to be about how you get the 15, 12, whatever the number of stakeholders together to say okay we can support this. i think you saw the senate do on an stb bill, the railroad industry is much smaller. and they were able to work it out that the railroad said okay we can live with this. >> that dovetails nicely into the next topic. you've already passed an amtrak bill on the house side and we're waiting to see what happens in the senate. there's some thought that their stb bill and your akmtrak bill can come together in. >> probably won't merge. i know there's a lot of folks over there that care about amtrak. that's something we're waiting to see. they haven't passed an -- or the
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stb -- yeah, they passed something out -- >> i think if i remember -- probably somebody here knows better than i do. i believe there's a big passed out of committee that's not on the floor. >> i believe that's correct. the senate confuses me in general. >> it confuses everybody. >> i think they're working on something on both of those issues and it's something we're going to have to take a look at. >> but the thing about that i'm interested in this particular amtrak bill took the policy a little further than others have in the past particularly in terms of trying to isolate and make the infrastructure investment go into the northeast corridor and then we still don't know quite what's going to happen with the long term routes which tend not to make money. >> right. >> so where would you like the see amtrak go? do you think it should still have fed call subsidies? >> it won't survive without them. but my goal is in working closely with jeff denim we had a bipartisan bill again that came out of the committee with
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the ranking member on the subcommittee to push the reforms amtrak to really make them run like a business. there's been a number of reforms tried to happen at amtrak. i think one of the key things we put in this bill was to break out the different lines as business units to see exactly how much it's losing. >> right. >> because my guess is, if you go to amtrak, you couldn't figure out their balance sheet or their income statement because again they're not operating as clearly as they should be. the northeast corridor makes a profit. those dollars should go back in the northeast corridor and then we figure out other ways to generate the dollars to make those other lines again hopefully get to break even. i think part of what's changed in the last ten years since i've been here is the states now they really are interested in amtrak and being a partner with amtrak. they're willing to spend state dollars to upgrade the system. so i think that's something that we need to push.
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again these long term lines maybe if you're looking at them as a business, maybe there's the model out there that you can change. >> have you seen one that works with the long term lines? >> not at this point. >> yeah. and i'm sure that you know -- >> doesn't mean there can't be. there's other things to do out there. but you have to understand the problem. >> you were telling me maybe charge a little more for the parts of routes. >> well, i ride on the keystone corridor harrisburg to philadelphia. i thought they were going to make a profit. they're close to making a profit. and the state controls what the cost of the ticket is. and i have been pushing them to raise the price of the ticket not because i necessarily want people to pay a little more but it's still a great value if it's 20% more. if you're riding the train you don't have to deal with the philadelphia traffic. you're more productive. don't have to pay tolls and gas. people i believe will pay more money to ride on those trains. >> and one of the things that i
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particularly enjoyed about thinking about the amtrak bill and the transportation committee is that you know i think you've lost 100 votes from republicans. the republicans who don't ever want to see amtrak be. >> right. >> this is a dynamic that happens particularly among in your caucus. where you continually have to say we need a federal role in transportation, we need to fund it. and some of them you're never going to convince. but others you might be able to. so how do you talk to your caucus and particularly some of the new members what may not be old-timers like you and me on this and trying to explain to them certain things might be important? why it's important to keep funding surface transportation at the current levels? >> right. first i talk to them about the need and the responsibility of the federal government. but i think that i've hopefully develop a relationship of trust and integrity with my colleagues
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that i understand if somebody is oppose to it that's fine. but again, if i tell them something that i'm going to do or not going to do they can pretty much count on that. and i think that's critical when you're dealing with both sides of the aisle, that they know that you're an honest broker. you say what you -- if you say you're going to do something, you're going to do it. and if you say you can't do it then they trust me that it's not possible to get it through. >> do you have any examples of sort of the novice misunderstanding about the infrastructure system of the country that can be with a little bit of just back and forth can be easily moved? >> i think there's not only novice but very experienced members that don't understand the role of the federal government in the transportation system. and i always put it back in historical context. it's in the constitution. this country has been -- whether it's the inland waterway system
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the ports the harbors at the federal level needs to be involved to make sure we're connected. and peter always bring us up this picture -- >> the demolition one, right. >> oklahoma and kansas decided to build this border. kansas built it and it stopped at the oklahoma border. oklahoma didn't have the funds to do it. that's the reason we need ooh federal rule to make sure you can go from coast to coast or northern board tore southern border. some states just won't do what's needed to be done. >> do you get tired of having to make that speech? >> no. quite frankly i enjoy it. i love being able to quote adam smith. he said the three things government should do, provide you can security, produce justice and promote commerce. i don't know how much clearer that can be. and it's adam smith saying it
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not bill shuster. >> it makes you sound cool in the sort of class president sort of thing. >> a lot of the colleagues on my side of the aisle claim adam smith as the founder of our economic system. that's what he said. if he came here today i'm sure he would say the same thing. >> well so we are hitting the point at which we have questions coming. i have a few on my twitter feed but i could use more. so if you guys -- if i'm not covering everything, just tweet to #asknj. that would be great. but there's one -- i'm going to have to read it because i'm not sure i actually understand it. i think this is the energy department, but i could be wrong, qer suggested a public private methods to fund maritime infrastructure projects. has the committee considered this? >> i'm not sure. >> sorry. well this is one i do understand. so when we're talking about the
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surface transportation bill, there has been some effort on the part of earl bloomen hower comes to mind bringing in a gas tax increase. that's been continualeally a no from leadership gop. is there something that can be done with the gas tax to try to help get you to your long term bill or is it really off the table in. >> when you have the president and the leadership of both houses at different times different parties saying no then it's very very difficult. and so i'm for what's possible. and i don't think at this point that's possible. but i do believe that after we get done and the president sign as five-year bill, the stakeholders and members of congress that care about it have to really start figuring out and start to, start to try to move the country in a way, how do we
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fund this. what's acceptable to the american people. what can pass in congress. but you know, i look at the state of pennsylvania and it took them three years at this kind of grass media campaign, educating citizens educating members, took three years. they fixed their funding levels and i think there's a lot of states that have done that, but it takes time and effort to do that, and we are at a point now where it's not possible to do a long term fix but that has to be job one as soon as we get the long term bill signed. >> right. do you think that there's -- so let's fast forward, the reason why i think you're going to get a long term bill because you have no other choice. i think if there was an easy solution that you probably wouldn't, but so fast forward to the end of this, you know fiscal year calendar year, you know, right after this you start going, do you start to look at things like vehicle miles traveled?
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the -- basically the replacement for the gas tax and charging people for miles they spend on the highway? >> i think that's something you have to look at. i think the technology part of it scares the heck out of a lot of people. >> right. >> i don't believe that's something the american people want to happen but how do you make it fair, for instance, the electric cars pay nothing. >> right. >> so those are the things we have to have a discussion about, and, you know, what's palatable to the american people what's simple to the american people? right now, what we collect at the pump, yes, something like 1100 people we have to -- organizations that collects that. you know, pennsylvania took it from the pump to the barrel of oil to the well having issues, and that reduces that so they are efficient. if you're going to expand to collect from every american it's going to be 250 i don't know how many people drive car,
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there's -- going to 400 million making it very difficult. i appreciate the confidence we'll get something done, and that reminds me of winston churchill, americans always do the right thing after they exhausted every other option. i think we're to that point. >> yeah. and, i mean, did you think when you took this over you would find yourself in deep conversations about tax reform? >> not really. i knew there was some -- that we had to deal with the mechanism, but, yeah, again, it's been good. it's paul ryan's a smart guy, and i learned something from him every time i talk to him. >> i have a question from your former staff director who is now the chief of the pittsburgh of port of pittsburgh or something. he wants to know what you learned on the road show in pennsylvania? for those who don't know, a bus trip that you took -- >> right, two days basically. >> around talking to people
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because he worked for you. >> right. we had secretaries of transportation of north carolina, south carolina, oklahoma, and texas, and i think the most -- i believed it before, but they believe the federal government has a role as a partner should maintain that role as a partner, and, you know, talking to a state like texas, sometimes, you know people sometimes think texas thinks they are their own country already. >> aren't they? i thought they were. >> they have these ports that stuff goes in and out does not all come from texas or stay in texas, and so the executive director actually, former marine general, he was absolutely adamant, as were all the others, and there were republicans coming from republican governors, conservative states, and they absolutely said federal
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rule laz to be maintained and there's not a system worthy of the nation, it rained once threatening every time we were off the bus but held off. >> pictures must have been amazing. >> so this is, i believe this is a question the water way users supporting a tax increase, but how do you make sure the funds are appropriated as authorized? hope i got that right. >> yeah. got to talk to the appropriators on that. but they did. they raised the user fee from 20 cents to 29 cents. in the water resources bill, we changed some of the way the money's spent to not put so much of the funds towards the project on the mississippi or on the ohio river and those dollars
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can flow to other areas of need. >> that can happen, you don't do anything in the authorization bill? >> we put the language in there, the appropriators have to adhere to itment the other thing is we changed the inland harbor trust fund, half was not going to anything, putting it in the lock box, and offset against other spending and what we've put in the bill is they are going to inch that up, and i believe chairman rogers is doing just that. he's inching that up so we have hope for one day to have a trust fund that's 100% going to the ports and harbors in the country. >> so here's another question on emt, odometers we have the standard things of cars, do we
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need new technology you think in order to move away from the gas tax is a better way to put it. >> it becomes a very difficult issue on privacy and things like that, same with new technology, and so, again those are the discussions we're going to have to have to figure out you know what the american people are willing to do when it comes to doing that. >> what about a barrel tax? >> well, yeah, that's what pennsylvania did, what virginia d put up a percentage on the barrel. that increased -- >> in some ways that backs it up rather than brings the users down to the miles driven. i mean, it's -- it's the same concept. >> similar concept, that's true. they did it in pennsylvania. giving them $2.5 and $3 billion in the next four or five years, so they've filled their hole in their transportation funding, and, again that's the other thing i learned from the four or five dots i traveled with. we did our share. the federal government has to
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step up. >> well okay. speaking of dod secretaries talk about how you are engaging with secretary fox who, from i understand, has had very good conversations with you has he asked for anything in part? he wants something long term and robust, and they proposed 478 billion, not getting that. >> didn't pay for it. small detail. >> right. that the two of you can do to make sure that when you get the green light, everybody's on the same page so that you can make it happen? >> sure. i think that the thing nothing specifically asked for except keep streamlining and doing those things that make it easier for me as a secretary to push these things out. i know he's done a good job of doing what he can do down at dot to streamline things. he's constantly pushing on people to get it done.
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that's important. we've had a number of discussions on reauthorization, and he's very interested in changing the system. >> well, and so i mean you mentioned at the beginning in your remarks at the beginning of the interview that there's parts of 21 that you're looking at. >> right. >> seeing if it needs to be tweaked. is there anything you have, in your conversations with secretary fox that is helping or hurting them from -- in the current law that they might be able to just move a little in your next go around? >> nothing to point to directly. again, as i mentioned earlier, this are areas that we want to expand upon. we tried in the last map 21, that if a state has a process, a -- it's an equal process environmental review process equal to or greater than the federal government's, it doesn't have to go through the federal. >> oh, okay. >> senator boxer didn't want it.
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she's got her state -- her state has thee most stringent strict, difficult review process to go through in probably the world. doesn't make sense to make states go through two processes. >> might ask again. see if senator boxer changed her mind. >> senator inhofe is now the ranking member. >> she could still change her mind. we appreciate the time you took to talk to us. audience does as well, appreciate it, and good luck with everything. >> thanks. [ applause ] coming up on c-span3 at 10:00 a.m. eastern, live coverage of a hearing of the oversight committee how a helicopter entered restricted air space. later, a joint meeting of congress to hear from the prime minister of japan shinzo abe.
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c c-span 3, watch us on hd like us on facebook, and follow us on twitter. with the ongoing news of boats in distress carrying refugees across the mediterranean to europe a look now at the situation stemming from the ongoing civil war in libya and how it affects libya's neighbors. speakers include a representative with the office of the u.n. high commissioner for refugees, and a minister with the embassy. this 90-minute forum took place at the brookings institution in washington. >> i'm a senior fellow in foreign policy here and the project on internal displacement. for the past 22 years we've been working and doing research on internal displacement, and think this is the first time we organized an event focusing specifically on libya, and
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certainly the research carried out, and the concern with the issue predates the current attention in libya in the context of the migration crisis in europe. we have a good panel for you today, and we're going to begin megan bradley to my far left. she teaches in montreal doing a lot of work on displacement reconciliation, in a variety of context, but she's almost coming home. she worked with us for a couple years as a fellow on the projects of internal displacement, and we miss you, but it's nice to see you here with us. >> thank you. >> she's going to talk about the research carried out in collaboration with colleagues, and then we're going to turn to the embassy of tunisia, a career diplomat worked in a variety of settings throughout middle east, most recently london, tokyo, before coming to washington in
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2012. the consequences for tunisia of displacement in libya is something to be considered. we'll then turn to shelly pitterman, worked with us for many years in very different settings from headquarters to the middle east and now in washington. we also focus on some of the issues in the caribbean. you have been visible in the past week or two with respect to what's happening in the mediterranean off the coast of libya, and i hope she can put this into the broader perspective. we often see that internal displacement within a country has consequences far beyond the borders of those country and i think we'll be saying that as we hear our panelists discuss today. each of them will talk for a short amount of time, and we'll hope open it up for questions and i hope you busily think about questions, and we look forward to hearing them. we begin with megan, welcome,
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and tell us about your research. >> thank you very much, beth it's nice to be home especially when the weather is nicer here than in montreal, no matter how cold the spring might have been here. i'm happy to share results of a recent study on the displacement crisis within libya and across the borders into particularly tunisia. this is a forthcoming report i've been working on with two colleagues who is with booking center and another who is from tunisia, a researcher and journalist. they took the lead on the field work in tunisia and libya informing the study so i want to start out by acknowledging their key contributions to the projects. the report is focused not just on the flow of migrants and the seekers across the mediterranean, but it's focused in particular on the displacement crisis affecting libya citizens themselves. although these are clearly
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interrelated dynamics, looking forward to speaking to those in the q&a session. so just to start with the numbers in an overview of the displacement dynamics that we look at in the report. the libyan population as many of you would know, is 6.2 million, so a small country. after gadhafi regime 5 million were uprooted within the borders of libya itself, and in addition, an estimated 660,000 libyans sought she wanter in neighboring countries, particularly tunisia and egypt. this is clearly a sizable proportion of the population of a relatively small country. the majority of idps uprooted in the context of the violence that accompanied the revolution were mostly able to draw on their own resources to return to their homes relatively promptly after the violence concluded. there was however a smaller
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group of about 50,000 people who ended up in a situation of so-called protracted displacement. these are individuals who even today have not been able to return to their homes. the greatest proportion of this population is a group of about 40,000 people from the town -- perhaps you followed the details of the case, but this is a situation in which the residents of the town who belong to a particular ethnic group were accused of loyalty to gadhafi and involvement in a series of war crimes that were committed against the residents of the city, and in retaliation the militias attacked the town, virtually destroyed it displacing the entire population population. they referred to the situation as a war crime in and of itself and a crime against humanity. the majority of those who are
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cohesive and vocal groups live in idp camps, principally in tripoli and benghazi. with the upsurge the violence seen since the summer of 2014, there's been in addition to the core group of protracted idps, a new wave of people forced from their homes so the best estimates that we have is that there are some 400,000 libyans who are now uprooted within the country. it's important to stress though, that because the majority of international actors pulled out of libya in the summer of 2014 there's been really no regular updated assessments of the size and characteristics of this population. so 400,000 is a rough estimate. what we do know for sure is that many of those who are currently uprooted in libya have been subject to multiple displacements, so they've been forced from the communities in which they sought shelter, and still are unable to return to their homes.
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it's also clear that the lack of international assistance for idps in libya at the moment pushed many of the people into situations of deep impoverishment and extreme as a rule vulnerability. there's within a conclusion of the revolution in 2011. however, we do see and i think mr. draghi will speak to this, we did see a significant portion of the population remain in exile in tunisia. many individuals are seems to have some degree of affiliation with or loyalty to gadhafi regime, making them unable to return to the country because of the fears associated with retaliatory violence. in thinking about the population, it's important to stress the vast majority of the people have not been actively
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involved in violence or abuse associated with the gadhafi regime. instead, this is more a case of guilt by association, people labeled loyalists by virtue of family associations or having a label applied to them in the context of local power struggles. it's a very complicated case, but it's important to recognize that this is not a group that's uniformly in any way responsible for violence of human rights violations. so in addition to this group, which has stayed in exile for a longer period of time, there's been, again, a major surge of movement into tunisia and egypt since the summer of 2014. you don't have good numbers on this population. in the summer the foreign minister suggested there are as many as 1.5 million libyans in tunisia. a smaller group more or less
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established residency in tunisia tunisia, but it's difficult to assess the sculpt of the population because they don't require a visa to enter tunisia, so they have generously kept the borders open throughout the crisis. we have a situation of people using their own resources to travel into tunisia, and they have not mostly actually registered as refugees. although, a sizable proportion of the population would presumably qualify for refugee status status. in effect, tunisia has become a host state in the region and although strikingly, they received little international support. which is something that i hope we'll discuss further. so if we think about the libya crisis in relation to the displacement that is taking place across the middle east in north africa at the moment, it's striking how little attention the situation has received particularly when we think about the displacement of libyans themselves and not just the
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issue of migrants and asylum seekers trying to escape from europe to libyan shores. i think this lack of attention to the libyan situation is significantly due to the fact that libya's a relatively well resourced country, and there's been an assumption that libyans have their own resources to draw on in order to respond to their needs for housing food, et cetera. now, this is meant that until now, there's been relatively low costs of the displacement crisis for european states and also for the u.s., but what i want to stress is in a longer term, this reliance on the displaced persons own resources is not ten nab. what we saw in our research and interviews with the affected populations is that, yes, some people are receiving, for example, regular pension payments from the government despite the ongoing chaos which is quite remarkable, but many don't. and so they are eating into their own resources approaching
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situations that increase impoverishment, and in addition to this many of the exiles have protection concerns that money alone can't resolve. so this means that the kind of neglect that the situation has received is not, i think something that can continue into the future. what we saw in our research is that many libyans in tunisia are effectively trying to live under the radar. the tunisia government has been remarkably generous in keeping borders open enabling this inform mall protection that libyans have access to date. the government has pledged not to return violence and enabled children for example, to go to school access medical care as well, but what we see in countries around the world this kind of hospitality comes as a cost when we're talking about displacement situations expected to be protracted, and that's
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certainly the case here. for example, we see represents increasing in many cities leading to tensions between tunisians and the libyan exiles. many of the libyan exiles interviewed for the study reported they live in fear of a policy change that would see them forcibly returned to libya where they fear for their lives. there's the international community, and to develop the policy and capacity as a host state and provide secure and reliable protection to those within the boardsers. just to conclude, in terms of responding to and ultimately looking towards the resolution of the situation, it's important to recognize the obvious. this is it's just impossible to talk about aiding idps, and
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resolving the crisis in a sustainable manner without looking at the broader question of conflict resolution and peace building in libya. increased security is, obviously, the social preconditions to stopping displacement and to resolving the predictment of those forced from their moments within libya and across borders. what we saw in the research is from the perspective of uprooted libyans, return is the preferred solution to displacement and this is also the preference of the many states and international organizations who are involved. what we see in other cases, though is that as displacement becomes more protracted, people's preferences and plans can change. and so as the situation continues, we have to have open dialogue about displaced about their preferences to make sure their opinions are closely taken into account.
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while returns are not possible i have three quick points to keep in mind moving forward and looking forwards an eventual resolution of the situation. first, it's absolutely imperative, goes without saying returns have to be voluntary, and it's required under international law. the flip side is while the trends can't be forced they can't be banned, so it's important to think about how to overcome, for example, the obstacles that prevented the people from returning to their home. we have to think about the justice of reconciliation and ongoing situation in libya. transitional justice protests in libya have been effectively suspended with the violence, but there are, i think, many lessons to be learn from the past failures of the protests that were initiated in 2011 so, for example, the political isolation law that was instituted in libya was problematic, particularly because of the highly punitive
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nature. this is an opportunity to try to take stock of the shortcomings, and ideally have a clearer sense of the way to move forward in future. and last it's essential to think about how immediateed to idps and exiles and how to lay the ground work for solutions. return is not an immediate possibility, there are ways in which populations can be assist assisted now in ways to help people come out from the shadows and not experience a situation of entrenched marginalization which is the risk that many people, particularly exiles face at the moment. this entails for example ensuring that libyan children take up the opportunity presented to them to go to school. many are still not enrolled in school. this is just one small step that is an important part of making sure that this population is not locked into a situation of protracted displacement in the
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longer term, so thank you very much. >> thank you a complex picture of protracted displacement new displacement in countries abroad. you can talk about the experience of your country in dealing with libyan displacement and the crisis. >> thank you very much. we'd like to think of libya as an unfortunately lyly fortunate. unfortunately there's the problem, but because of the connection of the two countries, the two people, and the very close relations of the culture and economics. after the revolution in tunisia and the revolution in the start of the revolution in libya, we received over 1 million libyan, and most of them rely on their own means in cities, but we have had around 90,000 libyans who were in refugee camps in tunisia
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tunisia. the success of the libyan -- it was successful, particularly, refugees went back home, and we all hope that with the stability and unfortunately things did not turn out to be very easy for everybody, for the community, and for the protests too, which was great long and painful, but for the libyans going through a more complex and more painful process, and right now, we have -- it's not easy to give figures, precise figures, but we have an estimation of more than 1 million libyans living in tunisia. most of them are middle class refugees, we call them, most relying on their own means on their savings, and more or less they are living in very good conditioning. the tee knee sha convention
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life, which allows libyans to have freedom to establish business and to be engineers of any ordinary citizen, and so in this stance, in terms of tunisia, i start with the good news, the positive, i mean, the libyans in tunisia they come with capital influx, and they help the economy in a sense. there's an estimation of something around $1 billion euro injected into the tunisia economy. unfortunately, this positive picture does not -- could not hide they put more pressure on
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subsidies, energy subsidies, and that is something that is being fed, and other negative aspects are related to security. the situation in libya, the
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proliferation of weapons and the situation in libya has created some concerns about smuggling weapons, and it is taking place in training tunisians in libya, and that's created some precautions about the influx of libyans in tunisia which are in context of the security and we have our home grown security threats and terrorists too, and there are a connection between all terrorist organizations through the region. the situation is not complex because the beginning of the revolution, when there was sort of libyan refugees the army did not have many assignments. -- in terms of security organizing refugee camps and now the army is quite small with
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so many missions and it is important in the war against terrorism, and they have the start of protecting borders, it's not -- it does not have the capacity to play the same role. these are some of the aspects we have. apart from these overnight and middle class refugees in tunisia, we have problem of nationals. we have around 200,000 africans who came for refugee status status in tunisia and most of them have one home or have been adopted in other host countries in europe and some of them but a great many are still in
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indonesia, and the concern is that we hope the situation in libya improves, and the the national dialogue how they pin to positive conclusion but the whole raefrarea has to prepare themselves for the worst. we hope that the experience in august 2014 when the fighting intensified in egypt after the killing of 21 egyptian christians. there was new refugees of border crossings towards tunisia. that alerted the authorities. that gave us, signalled to us we've to be prepared. the tunisia economy is not in the same shape as it was in 2011. the army is not in the same readiness as it was in 2011, and to be honest too, there is in
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tunisia, humanitarian there was a huge -- the libyan people, other refugees, there was a stance of willingness to contribute from all citizens to help and to project a picture of generosity and solidarity but there is some kind of -- even within itself there were so many campaigns of deep moving from tunis to inland regions opening support and offering donations, and now the economic situation, i'm not in the same kind of attitude, and so these are some of the challenges that we are facing, and that has been said we are facing alone without any international support, but i think the minimum is to try to work on emergency plans to provide support, but also to provide support in terms of management, crisis management, and procedures to deal with
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possible new influx of refugees. so maybe you can have questions later. >> thank you very much. let's turn to shelly, high commissioner for refugee. >> thank you very much, beth. it's a pleasure to be here. my conversation starts with three perspectives. one, libya specific talking on briefly, and as we must with any refugee situation, look at the neighborhood and region by definition. in the case of libya given the security situation, our presence in libya is naturally constrained, getting to the points mentioned about the level of assistance that can be offered to the displaced persons, and n. some 40,000 refugees as well who are, according to the last count in
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libya, mostly in the tripoli area, so we've had to withdraw our international staff. we've got about 30 to 40 national staff in both benghazi principally in tripoli as well and we work to the extent that anything can be accomplished in support of the displaced populations that are concentrated in various neighbors, because as you said they are very dependent on family connection, and they've basically been obliged to go it alone in the libyan mess. we work through some international ngos like international medical corp. working with the danish refugee council, as well as the libya red crescent and other ngos that get things accomplished so we continue to try to keep a presence to provide some minimum, you know material support to work with the
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individuals and respond to individual protection needs, but, you know, there's no illusion here that anything significant on our part is effectively changing their situation in a big way which is the case of displaced places because of the situation they presently find themselves in. libya is an extreme example of that, i guess in the current -- excuse me in the current map of conflict and internal strife. so we watch carefully and optimistically the work of the special representative of the secretary general to find political solution apparently this is a slow and complicated process. it's happening in multiple countries dealing with multiple actors, and so here again, i think patients is the key, and
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in that rather sad landscape tunisia is a pearl of reception of asylum of understanding and so natural lyly all who care are very grateful for the excellent support provided by tunisia. when you think of the tunisia case, i, in my bkd think as well of lebanon and other countries impacted by the surge of instability and in security in the north africa as well as in the -- as well as in the center of the middle east around the syria refugee problem because there are relations, relationships here, and there's been a lot of focus on how lebanon is impacted particularly lebanon but the
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incredible number of syria refugees, and i guess we also have to think of tunisia in the significant way and we can support direct relief to refugees, but as you said they are part of the community in many ways, being integrated through municipal services, health education living in rented buildings, and they are working on the savings that they've had, the resources that they were able to bring, but as far as protracted displacement, those resources will run dry. when that happens we find it happens sooner in lebanon because of the dramatic quality, the war in syria and when that happens, those people will
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suffer more clearly, and it'll have a more dramatic impact on tunisia, so we have to i think, already anticipate, we have to anticipate the problems that come with marginalization, with exclusion, with poverty, and with the fact that they are not tunisia, and as you said, tu tunisia had an experience after the revolution receiving tens of thousands of foreigners including refugees in its territory, and dealing with them in the most hospitable way, so the high commissioners then looking at this question and advocating for a more proactive approach to development. this is not a relief situation they are a middle income country, and egypt on the other side, therefore not necessarily
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eligible for the types of grants that would normally come from development agencies and international and financial institutions like the world bank and it does not qualify, but we respect the case and i guess this is a very effective platform for doing so as well, and it's in the collectsive interest of the global north and of the people of tunisia and of the libyans impacted by this, think of creative ways to help affected countries to engajs in structural bilateral and multilevel support. we shouchtldn't have to wait until the crisis or the problem becomes the crisis. engage from the get-go.
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it's a case in point precisely because of the economic hardships you mentioned, that are facing the country in terms of gdp, and so on and there are other examples around the nigeria situation cameroon, mali lebanon jordan are other important examples as well as turkey to a lesser extent where development, institutions and development resources, that's the key, can be leveraged to provide more support not only to help the countries but to give more space and to helpfully address this problem, which is i think, critical of human tarry fatigue so there was a short term benefit beyond the cooking pots and blankets and the very
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punk pung chew support to a medical center here or a school there. this is something we are pressing for and looking for creative ways to make that happen. there are some opportunities in the months to come, through g 7 conversations, or the next meetings with the world bank whom were working with closely on this, and we hope for advocates in this room and elsewhere to help find a key to app afroech to lopes that recognize in the context of tunisia, and the openness that you've shown as a country and as a nation to refugees, and elsewhere. i have to mention the havoc in libya, the vacuum of authority, the insecurity and instability creates a pathway however risky it may be for syrians, and others to transit to make their
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way to safer shores in the north, and on the one hand, and also for the sum of the 40,000 or so refugees themselves to exit, and we have seen over recent months and years an increase in the outflow of both people and also the -- i call them both people not to conjure up images of years ago, but that's what they are, and we've seen in the tragedy on the mediterranean last week, they run terrific risk in doing what they do. it's not a choice, it's not economic my grants but forced to flee because of the circumstances in their home countries, and it's a tragedy within a tragedy in effect that they've had to leave syria or countries they fled to seek
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asylum and transit through the environment and be at traffickers who are able to flourish in such an environment in order to make their way or to try to make their way to europe and elsewhere in order to find safety so i hope to talk more about that, but i also don't want to abuse my opening time. to draw length of libya, the neighborhood in north africa and i did not speak about egypt, but the same principles exist in general, but tunisia's open border policies clearly something that they are very very appreciative of. and also to make the length that it's -- the broader region and it has a global impact. thank you very much. >> thank you very much, all of you. i thought we'd have a conversation among ourselves, and starting with you megan we know from other experiences that the longer people are displaced,
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the more protracted the situation, the less likely they are to go home. i mean, are there steps to be taken now, even given the situation it facilitates an eventual return from tunisia and elsewhere? >> i think there are steps. one issue, for example, that certainly will need to be considered is a question of restitution. this is going to be a complex process, always is with large scale displacements in which areas people lost their homes. in libya, it's all the more complicated because restitution claims they are intertwined with the practices of the gadhafi regime over decades. the gadhafi regime would use land conflicts, allocation of land resources as a way of playing different groups off of one another and this, of course results in very complex overlapping claims to the same properties. so in


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